WCOOP: Everything still Peachy
Maria "Peachy" Nava wanted a house and she was going to have one no matter what. This time last year, she was in the middle of purchasing a new home with her siblings. She was going to be able to afford it, but a little extra money would not have hurt. What she didn't know at the time was that she was just a few months from getting pregnant. Having extra cash was no longer going to be simply a luxury. It was a necessity.
Enter the 2009 World Championship of Online Poker and $320 7-Card Stud event. With 668 players in the field, it was no soft tournament. When it was all said and done, the player known as "yhcaep" came out on top for the $33,814.50 first prize.
Now, if you take a close look at the screen name, you might just notice that if you read the letters backward....well, that looks a lot like "peachy."
Indeed, that's our diminutive poker dealer from California, Ms. Peachy Nava.
"It was absolutely a great timing for me to have an extra money in my pocket," she said.
There was a time when the five-foot tall Filipino girl was a mystery in the poker world. She was almost a novelty. A little Asian girl who played Stud wasn't something poker players saw very often.
"Most people think I am nothing but a newbie in this field because of the way I look," Nava said. "I am 28 years of age now, but people think I am 16 or sometimes younger. My opponents are often confused on whether or not to believe that I have a good hand. I get a great amount of respect online because of my stats, but playing live--especially out of town--is a little bit more interesting."
After winning her WCOOP bracelet last year, Nava started getting recognized at the table. It was something new for her. People knew her name. People knew her nickname. And, for better or worse, people knew she could absolutely crush a stud game.
Part of winning her WCOOP bracelet was a PokerStars-funded trip to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas to pick up her bracelet. There Nava ran into some of the biggest pros in the world. Greg Raymer told her anybody can play hold'em, but playing stud takes a special talent. Marcel Luske fawned over the fact Nava was the only female on last year's champion's list. And according to Nava, Daniel Negreanu told her, "You play stud? That is sexy! These Hold'em boys are boring."
"I like the idea that I can represent my gender group in my own way," Nava said.
With a healthy baby boy now gurgling at her new house, Nava is now bent on getting herself another WCOOP bracelet. She's been running well for the past couple of years and has no intention of stopping now. Her days begin at 6am. She spends nearly seven hours doing her work around the house, then jumps into a series of HORSE tournaments (her newest passion) that can last her most of the night.
"I fold my laundry, watch TV and now take care of my baby while I am playing them. It helps to have a light laptop and a great WiFi at hand," she said.
You can expect to see "yhcaep" at the WCOOP tables in a few weeks. When you do, ask her how her baby is doing.